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Delivering Safety Verification for the Reading Station Area Redevelopment Project

NCB has played a vital part in the multi-million pound investment in the railway at Reading Station.

We have responsibility for carrying out Safety Verification work for all Network Rail elements of the project; including the renewal of the signalling system, remodelling of the operational track layout and the introduction of new civil structures. The combined impact of these works facilitates the provision of passenger and freight service grade separation for the Western Main Line and the Westbury Lines.

The Reading Station Area Redevelopment (RSAR) Project is a £850m major improvement scheme as part of the Great Western Main Line (GWML) route electrification and upgrade Programme. The core objective of GWML is the introduction of new electric stock services between London Paddington and Newbury, Oxford, Bristol Temple Meads, Cardiff and Swansea.

This new service should improve the reliability and punctuality of train services on one of Britain’s busiest mixed-use railway lines. Reading Station and the surrounding multiple junction complexes were identified as the most restrictive “bottle-neck” on the GWML route and needed significant over-haul and upgrade.

Our involvement with RSAR started five years ago at the completion of the Projects Grip 4 design development stage. Provision of an Interim Statement of Safety Verification was completed on 1st July 2011. This covered the full project remit of signaling upgrade to axle counters and LED signals, track renewal works including upgrade to NR60 switch & crossings, power supply upgrades for signaling and points heating, telecom and GSM-R upgrades, major civil structure construction and upgrade, reconstruction of the station and construction of a new train-care depot.

The work has been extensive and has continued to develop over the course of the project with some unique challenges -including a change in station management accountabilities from First Great Western to Network Rail.

Between Christmas 2011 and Easter 2015 we’ve undertaken 7 Pre-Commissioning Statements of Safety Verification to support the Project’s delivery programme. The final stage of delivery is planned for September 2015 when the final operational line-speeds are commissioned.

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